Free Splash Pads on the East Side

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It’s summer and summer means water play, especially on the Eastside where our summer temperatures soar. For us it’s even more important because we don’t have central air at our house, so we *must* get out in the afternoons to cool down! Here are our go to free splash pads and water play areas on the Eastside.

Glendale Wading Pools

Glendale Wading Pools are awesome little ‘ponds’ of water for kids under 8 years old. The pools are open from 12-5 M to Thur and 1:30 – 5:30 on Saturday and Sunday (close on Friday). Each pool has it’s own operating days, see below for specific days at each wading pool. The wading pools open for the summer on the first weekend in June. Our favorites are Brand and Fremont.

IMG_3249We have heard Glenoaks is great as well, but it’s a bit further out for us, but based on good advice we will include it on our list.

Brand Park (1601 W Mountain Street): Wednesday & Saturday

Fremont Park (600 W Hahn Ave.): Tuesday, Saturday & Sunday

Glenoaks ( 2531 Glenoaks Blvd) : Monday & Saturday

There are two other pools as well, but we can’t vouch for them. They are:

Dunsmore Park (4700 Dunsmore Ave):  Thursday & Sunday

Palmer Park (610 E. Palmer): Closed for Summer 2016

Rio de los Angeles State Park

This park (located at 1900 San Fernando Rd) near trendy Highland Park is very busy, and for good reason. The water features are great! Go early if you have smaller children as it gets super busy with older kids who aren’t always the best with the smaller tots. The big draw for the kids are the 4 water ‘guns’ that are fixed to the ground and point to a middle point. The kids love it. (See photo at the top of this page). Bring a lunch and have a picnic on the large grassy lawns while your little drys off by playing on the great play structures.

Cerritos Playground (Rocket Ship Park)

This park on the corner of San Fernando and Glendale Ave in Glendale is not my favorite outside of the summer season. The big rocket ship feels like an accident waiting to happen and this park is not always the cleanest. However, once summer hits and the water is turned on, we are here often.  There are pop up water sprays, circular sprinklers and a bucket that dumps every few minutes to get fully drenched.

Pacific Park


This cute little park (501 S Pacific Ave, Glendale) is almost always empty when we go, which makes the water play area extra special. There are palm trees that spray water down which is more than enough fun for little tots. Parking is easy and abundant.  There is also the Pacific Community Pool next door if you want some actual swimming. The public pool has great, very affordable swim lessons all summer.

Pirate Park Pasadena (Reese’s Retreat)

This playground can be a little tricky to find the first time. It is located directly behind the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center (360 N. Arroyo Blvd) and cannot be seen from the parking lot.  This is a fun playground regardless of the water feature, but having access to water (and sand) makes the littles very happy. It can get hot and crowded, so plan to go earlier or later in the day. Bring sand and water toys and a change of clothes since they will get wet and sandy. If you get hungry, pop into the Aquatic Center’s cafe for a small nibble.  Also check out the fields behind the playground for the gopher’s popping in/out of the holes.

Grand Park Fountain

cian at grand parkOK this may not actually be considered “Eastside” or free since you have to pay for parking, but this is our absolute favorite water play area on this side of town. This large fountain splash pad on the south side of Grand Ave (between Grand Ave & Hill, off of 1st Street) is filled with kids big and small every time it’s hot and a few even when it’s not! The great thing about this fountain is it runs year round (check online for maintenance days) which means you can have water play even on those random hot days in March! The only negative is parking which can be hard to find and is expensive. If you live by the metro, that is the most economical option. It’s quick, clean and extra entertainment for the kids.  Otherwise for parking, you have a few options. If you go early in the day and plan to leave before 4 pm you can usually find a metered spot. But make sure you leave before 4 or you will get towed!  Alternatively, if you show up after 4 pm, the parking lot just opposite the bottom of the park (on Hill Street) is $7-10.  Our other go to spot is on the corner of Grand and 1st street. Enter on Olive Street off of 1st. It is $8-10 during the day. Last but not least, if you don’t mind a walk, you can park at the downtown public library and get validated with a library card for super cheap parking.

Do you have a favorite water play area on this side of town? We are always on the hunt for new places to visit, so please share them below!

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Free Splash Pads on the East Side of Los Angeles

6 thoughts on “Free Splash Pads on the East Side”

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post! This is exactly what I was looking for. I should bring my 18 month to every park listed here. 🙂

  2. Hi, was wondering what the location is in the very first picture, where all the children are playing in the water.

    • Melanie, that is the Rio De los angeles park. it is super fun, but can get crowded so go early if you have little ones!


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